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Often the most interesting and revealing question about a 
man is not "What did he do I" but "Who made him ? How did he 
come to be?" The explanation of a man's life lies not on the 
surface, in open sight, but hidden deep within. He himself sel- 
dom publishes it and biographies may not discern it. The 
influences that really make a man are personal, not circumstantial. 

Volumes might be written on "The Friendships of the Soul," 
with innumerable examples. Such friendships are not always 
from actual intercourse, but often by spirit contact and atmos- 
pheric contagion of high health. Many notable careers have been 
thus incited, vitalized, energized and impelled. When Charles 
Kingsley was asked the secret of his fine career, he answered, "I 
had a friend," referring not so much to wise advice or practical 
help as to personal inspiration. The best gift a noble, generous 
friend can give us is himself, imbuing us with his spirit, till we 
see his visions, are enraptured with his ideals, energized by his 
motives, kindled by his passions, and caught up into his lofty 

Phillips Brooks said, "What I desire in my friend is that he 
be like me in character and in the higher purposes of life." That 
is what Jesus asks of His friends, and what constitutes, between 
Him and us, a "Friendship of the Soul." The spell of the Christ 
fell on young Phillips Brooks, resembled him to his Lord in char- 
acter and in the purposes of life, so making him the man he was. 
The spell of Phillips Brooks, powerfully surcharged with the 
Christ-passion, fell upon young Franklin Hamilton, enveloped 
him, pervaded him, saturated him, and helped make him the man 
he became. Phillips Brooks was a majestic and potent per- 
sonality, a radiant and radiating center of spiritual life and 
energy. The sheer manhood of him was magnificent and his 
superb qualities were raised to the nth. power by the indwelling 
of the Holy Spirit. His gifted lips were touched with burning 

coals from the Altar. The swiftness and force of his impassioned 
preaching were in effect like a prairie fire or a mighty rushing 
wind. His reasoning and his rapture swept everything before 
them. In the pulpit and out of it he was a dynamic spirit, casting 
his spell over multitudes. 

We are told by the one who knows that this spell fell upon 
the sensitive and responsive susceptibilities of young Franklin 
Hamilton and was a pervading and prevailing influence in the 
life here portrayed: so that Bishop Franklin Hamilton is a shin- 
ing instance of the inspiring power of an exalted "Friendship of 
the Soul." 

Will: V. HI 

Ptefjop Jfranfelm Samilton 

Delayed twenty-four hours in sailing from Liverpool, Emerson 
bemoaned the tedium of his lot, and muttered: "Ah, me! Mr. 
Thomas Carlyle, I would give a gold pound for your wise company 
this gloomy evening." An uncounted host of lonely hearts have 
a similar longing for the gracious comradeship of Franklin Hamil- 
ton, and sometimes fancy they have it, forgetting that he is gone — 
so strongly does his spiritual influence persist. Therein lies the 
secret of the man. Above all his other fine qualities, and irradiat- 
ing every one of them, was his power to make men love him. It 
would be an imprudence to print the half of what his friends still 
say of him. Months after his departure, asked for a critical judg- 
ment of his worth, all sorts and conditions of men with one accord 
praise him. It seems like a conspiracy of affection. We can only 
guess what the angels think of him, but God apparently shares 
the sentiment of men, and did a strange thing to show it. He gave 
Franklin Hamilton the best furnishing for the bishopric that could 
be provided at the time and then allowed him only two years to 
occupy it, evidently having a better position for him elsewhere. 
No other explanation of the facts is adequate. He was born at 
Pleasant Valley, Ohio, August 9th, 1866; consecrated a bishop 
at Saratoga Springs, 1ST. Y., May 28, 1916; released from service 
by what we call death in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 5, 1918. 
Only one man in the history of American Methodism has held 
his bishopric for a shorter period. Erastus O. Haven was but a 
year and three months in the episcopate, but he was sixty years 
of age when elected. Franklin Hamilton was fifty when called to 
the high office. He was apparently in full vigor of life, but in twice 
twelve months his toil on earth was ended. Why he should have 

Bishop Franklin Hamilton 

been permitted to withdraw with his supreme work just begun is 
a mystery impossible for earthly minds to solve. Judged by 
human standards there is a bitter irony in such a culmination, but 
faith rests on the assurance that God makes no blunders, though 
His strategy be not justified in the sight of men. Martin Luther 
besought God to reveal the divine purpose in a certain inscrutable 
event, but he seemed to hear the voice of the Eternal responding : 
"I am not to be traced." 

How great pains God took with Franklin Hamilton one sees 
from his birth and breeding. He was the youngest son of the Rev. 
William Charles Patrick and Henrietta Dean Hamilton. His 
father was a stalwart Methodist circuit rider in Ohio and Virginia, 
and his brothers were endowed with much force of character. The 
oldest is Bishop John W. Hamilton, now and for several years 
chancellor of the American University, a man of eloquence, high 
executive ability and ecclesiastical statesmanship. The second, 
Jay Benson Hamilton, is a well-known preacher who has wrought 
valiantly and effectively for the better support of the retired 
minister. The third, Wilbur Dean Hamilton, is an artist and 
painter of portraits. The versatility displayed in the family of 
the talented Irish preacher flourished luxuriantly in the latest-born 
son. Out of the straitened conditions of an itinerant minister's 
home, in a day when salaries were meager and toil was abundant, 
Franklin Hamilton came forth endowed with many gifts of 
heaven. He had a fine presence. JSTo man could see him without 
being impressed that he was an unusual person. His portrait 
reveals the warmth of his temperament and the dominance of his 
brain, but one must have observed the whole figure in action to 
have a true measure of the man's native strength and symmetry. 
To his physical superiority was joined a mind of singular excel- 
lence, an instrument capable of unremitting toil, enriched by clear 
powers of discrimination, possessing an affinity for the finer things 
of the spirit, devoid of disturbing illusions, with wide vision, yet 
with practical sense; a good usable brain that could keep its bal- 
ance and would go straight on with the business in hand. The 
inner nature of the man ennobled his body and illumined his mind. 
He was a gentleman by instinct. His kindly disposition toward 

Bishop Franklin Hamilton 

men was not an acquisition but a gift. The grace of God was upon 
him from childhood, and "he increased in wisdom and stature and 
in favor with God and man." He started life with a strong will. 
Without it bodily excellence, intellectual vigor and grace of spirit 
would not have availed to give him eminence. He was so consti- 
tuted that, having embarked upon an enterprise, he would carry it 
through despite any discouragements, and having been set down 
in the center of things various and perplexing he would proceed 
at all hazards to master them. He had a deep moral nature, quick- 
ened and disciplined by spiritual aspirations. He saw truth 
clearly and embraced it ardently. He loved righteousness and 
hated iniquity. He was incapable of a mean action. Thus he be>- 
gan with great natural advantages, and it was the peculiarity of 
his fortune that his friends usually referred to his inherited charac- 
teristics as if they had been acquired by his own perseverance and 
therefore ought to be set down to his personal credit. 

What must be put to his account is that Franklin Hamilton 
met the challenge of the divine bounty by resolving to use it to the 
utmost of his ability. He did not want to disappoint God. He 
realized that every achieving man is the joint product of what 
Divine Providence gives him and what he himself does with the 
capital intrusted to him. God provides birth, breeding, talents, 
and opportunity. A man uses or misuses these benefactions ac- 
cording to the spirit that is in him. Jean Paul Richter said : "I 
have made as much out of myself as could be made of the stuff, 
and no man should require more." But God does demand that 
much, so Hamilton thought, and he set to work on the material at 
his disposal with great earnestness of purpose. What Browning 
places on the lips of a less worthy man he might have made his 
own — the claim to have 

Braved sorrow, courted joy, to just one end; 
Namely, that just the creature I was bound 
To be I should become, nor thwart at all 
God's purpose in creation. I conceive 
No other duty possible to man — 
Highest mind, lowest mind; no other law 
By which to judge life failure or success; 
What folk call being saved or cast away. 

Bishop Franklin Hamilton 

He determined to secure an education broad and deep enough to 
meet any emergency. Under the guidance of his big brother, 
now the white-plumed chancellor-bishop, he began his studies in 
the Boston Latin School. Here he stood so high that he swept off 
a whole sheaf of prizes, graduating with much honor in 1883. As 
the majority of his classmates entered Harvard he naturally went 
with them. His brother, John W. Hamilton, was then under the 
burden of the People's Temple of Boston. To pay the boy's bills 
was beyond his power. The brother next above Franklin in age, 
then also a resident of Boston and who died of a surgical operation 
many years afterward, undertook to finance the lad in college. It 
turned out to be a not difficult task, for Franklin nearly worked 
his way through on the prizes and scholarships he obtained. In 
1885 he won the Old South Prize for historical studies in Boston. 
During his course in Harvard he secured both the Bowdoin and 
the Boylston prizes. He became editor-in-chief of the Harvard 
Daily Crimson. He was also chosen a member of Phi Beta Kappa 
and a member of its literary committee. The two hundred and 
fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Harvard occurred during 
his junior year, and he was elected to deliver the oration for the 
under-graduates, the alumni address on the same occasion being 
given by James Russell Lowell. Both speeches were printed in 
a book published to commemorate the event. Franklin Hamilton 
was selected as class orator and served also as one of the Commence- 
ment speakers, graduating with much distinction in 1887. How he 
appeared to the student body in his under-graduate days is well 
described by one of his classmates, who says : "I shall always re- 
member the first impression which Hamilton made upon me. I 
did not know him even to bow to, but I was tremendously im- 
pressed with his appearance, which was always that of a serious, 
high-minded scholar. . . . His features were so clean-cut and so 
strong and his whole bearing was that of a man much older than 
he. really was. In fact, I was two years older than he and yet I 
always felt his junior." After graduation he spent a year teach- 
ing Greek and Latin in Chattanooga University. Then, being 
still unsatisfied with his scholastic attainments, he went abroad and 
spent nearly three years in post-graduate courses at Berlin Uni- 

Bishop Franklin Hamilton 

versity and in Paris. At Berlin he was a favorite pupil of the 
celebrated Ferdinand Piper, with whom he engaged in researches 
in pagan antiquities and symbolism. A fellow student in Berlin 
University says that together he and Hamilton listened to Zeller, 
Paulsen, and attended Paulsen's Seminary on Kant, and testifies : 
"Hamilton had a superb mind, and was in fact one of the two most 
brilliant men I ever knew as a student." One can readily fancy 
with what ardor Franklin Hamilton followed the bent of his intel- 
lectual craving as he pored over the treasures to be found in the 
capitals of Prussia and France and mingled with the personages 
who could best satisfy the aspirations of his soul. He was a stu- 
dent all his life, and when his formal education was finished he 
was just beginning that expansion of his equipment which never 
ceased until he breathed his last on earth. Doubtless his researches 
continue in the invisible world whither all too soon he took his 

God did not stop with simply endowing Franklin Hamilton. 
He issued to him a summons to spiritual leadership. The lure of 
the Christian ministry caught and held him. With a father and 
two brothers in that sacred calling it would naturally be suggested 
to his mind. But was this an intimation from heaven or the mere 
outgrowth of his surroundings ? At last the drift of events and 
the desire of his own soul united to determine him. The conviction 
of his mission was upon him in Harvard. Professor George Her- 
bert Palmer, after saying that Franklin Hamilton was a favorite 
student of his, standing among the first in his course in ethics, 
continues: "I thought him so promising that I suggested to him 
that he devote his life to teaching philosophy. . . . Such a life 
was very attractive to his taste, and I think it was largely on that 
account that he refused it. He had a soldierly temper and was 
determined to give his life to the poor and needy. Nothing could 
divert him from the ministry, though I felt he would be as true a 
minister in the teacher's chair. He gave himself to his work with 
all his heart." Those lines are worth pondering. They not only 
show Hamilton at a crisis deciding for the higher interests, but 
also reveal his love for humanity and his purpose to give sacrificial 
service to his generation. 

Bishop Franklin Hamilton 

A German university even before the war was not regarded 
by thoughtful Christians as a congenial place for the development 
of spiritual ideals, but in the case of Hamilton the reactions of 
Berlin were all to the advantage of religion. Professor E. A. 
Ross, of the University of Wisconsin, who was with Hamilton in 
Berlin, says : "Often we have sat until one or two o'clock in the 
morning nibbling rye bread sandwiches and pretzels, washed down 
with cocoa, and discussing philosophy or metaphysics. We ranged 
far afield in our philosophical discussions, but he always came 
back to the fact that in any case he was going to go home and work 
in the Methodist Church because he loved it and believed in the 
work it was doing. Where we came out in metaphysical discus- 
sions did not seem to give him much concern, for his mind was all 
set on behalf of the emotional and practical attitudes that his Meth- 
odism involved. In this, of course, he was quite right from the 
point of view of the latest psychology, for the attitudes of strong 
and leading men never flow from their speculations but from their 
fundamental reactions to life and experience." 

On his return from Europe Franklin Hamilton entered the 
Boston School of Theology from which he was graduated in 1892, 
being one of the Commencement speakers of the year. In this 
school of the prophets whatever depletion of the evangelical spirit 
he may have suffered in Berlin was corrected and his zeal for the 
service of humanity through the ministry of the gospel became 
intensified. He entered the pastorate with much enthusiasm and 
gave himself immediately to successful work. From 1892 to 1S95 
he was stationed in East Boston, where he organized a church and 
built its edifice. From 1895 until 1900 he was pastor of the 
church in Eewtonville, Massachusetts, and in 1900-1908 of the 
First Church of Boston, the longest pastorate in the history of the 
church up to that time. His brother, John W. Hamilton, had been 
pastor of the church twenty-five years before and this afforded 
him a fine introduction. The union of the First Church on Han- 
over Street and Grace Church on Temple Street was effected 
at the beginning of his pastorate. During his work there, so writes 
one who has been a member of that church since 1875, "He was 
constantly active, alert, and able in forwarding all lines of Chris- 

Bishop Franklin Hamilton 

tian activity and was greatly beloved by all of our people. The most 
-extensive repairs and improvements that have been made since 
the church was originally built were projected and carried to com- 
pletion during his pastorate." He also took an active part in the 
municipal campaigns for civic reform. It was during this term 
that with his family he made a tour around the world, 1904-1905, 
spending much time in the Far East, where he studied foreign 
missions and acquainted himself with the literature and philosophy 
of the Oriental religions, thus fitting himself for missionary super- 
vision and for certain literary productions which were to give 
distinction to his name as a writer. 

From the pastorate to the chancellorship of the American 
University in 1908 was not so abrupt a transition for him as it 
would have been for some others, since so large a part of his life 
had been spent in scholastic experiences. However, the teaching 
function was not the primary requirement for the new position. 
He was now to assume the responsibilities of a high administrative 
trust. Sixteen years in the pastorate had given him valuable ac- 
quaintance with the business of handling money and men. But 
here was something essentially different. Scholarship would count 
for little more than to give prestige to an institution which must 
have for its head a man of erudition. What was most needed was 
a masterly hand to guide an enterprise which had never enjoyed 
the enthusiastic support of the church and the very practicability 
of which was still in question, and to make it succeed by skillfully 
securing friends for it and wisely directing its career to an achieve- 
ment which would compel general approval. JSTo formal inaugura- 
tion occurred when he was inducted into the chancellorship. As 
another has said, "He quietly took the reins and held them." The 
situation was so unhopeful that many persons admonished Hamil- 
ton that he was making an undue sacrifice of his own interests. 
But no sooner had prosperity commenced to dawn on his under- 
taking than critics began to suggest that he had assumed the diffi- 
cult thing only to feed a fond ambition. The cynic must always 
find some reason for a sacrificial act which his nature is incapable 
of explaining apart from a selfish motive. The fact which im- 
pressed the church was that Hamilton was surely making headway, 

Bishop Franklin Hamilton 

and immediately the place which he had taken when it was most 
undesirable began to appear very attractive to other persons. 
Consequently the tone of comment changed toward him and his 

His approach to this task could not be better described than 
in the words of Bishop Cranston, published in The American 
University Courier, July, 1918: 

Under the circumstances a weak man would have summoned the 
Board to a pretentious program which would have been a trumpet chal- 
lenge to all adversaries. But Chancellor Hamilton came without pretense 
of skill or special wisdom. He brought no set program of campaign. 
He proposed no spectacular methods. He just came and went quietly 
about the drudgery of his office, first acquainting himself with every 
detail of the university's affairs and interests. His business instinct took 
quick account of essential values. He saw the need of keeping the Board 
constantly advised as to the condition of its trust, to the least item. He 
established close and confidential relations with his advisers, and relied 
so fully on their judgment that from first to last the administration was 
harmonious. . . . 

Not one breath of useless lamentation did the new chancellor waste 
over the chronic inertia that had been for years the comment of the 
unfriendly and the disappointment of the friends of the university. He 
quietly garnered every hopeful utterance and was cordial to every friendly 
expression of interest in its welfare. He made no catalogue of adver- 
saries, nor did he seek to identify anybody as such, but as if oblivious to 
all adverse influence he suavely smiled his way into every bellicose group 
or camp without apology for his presence, accepting good wishes for active 
cooperation and even apathetic neutrality as loyalty. Who could fight 
such a man? Winning new friends for his cause, silencing old enemies 
and making no new ones, he largely succeeded in creating a new atmos- 
phere for the university, especially in the Church. 

Then came the new Chancellor's plan for the actual opening 
of the university and the partial fulfillment of the dream of its 
founder, Bishop Hurst. This scheme was outlined in an article 
which appeared in the Methodist Review for March, 1914, and 
which is one of the best pieces of writing Hamilton ever did. It 
presents at the beginning the characteristic intellectual demands 
of the age ; namely, the search for the ultimate reality, the vitaliza- 
tion of truth when discovered, and the extensive development of 
individualism. He then proceeds to show in most practical fashion 
how the American University can meet these requirements : first, 

Bishop Franklin Hamilton 

by utilizing the immense treasures laid open by the government in 
Washington for scientific research and scholarly investigation 
under capable direction; second, by the establishment of lecture- 
ships at the seat of the university, or wherever else may be deemed 
advisable, through which priceless knowledge may be made avail- 
able to an increasing number of inquirers; third, by the main- 
tenance of a system of fellowships granted to qualified students 
on the nomination of other universities for work to be pursued in 
any approved educational institutions or other places of investiga- 
tion in America and in foreign countries. This plan was not born 
in a day. It took form after two years of conference with bishops, 
secretaries, religious and secular educators, statesmen, adminis- 
trators, and leaders in almost every walk of life. At about the 
same time that it appeared the plan was placed before the Board 
of Education, the Educational Association, and the University 
Senate, all within five weeks, and adopted by these three bodies, 
unanimously by two of them, with practical unanimity by the third, 
and seriously and cordially by all. The American University was 
opened May 27, 1914, in the presence of a large company, with 
impressive exercises, in which President Wilson, Bishop Cranston, 
Bishop McDowell, Secretary Daniels, Secretary Bryan and other 
distinguished men participated. The plan was put into operation 
as rapidly as possible. Its beginnings were modest, but they went 
steadily forward and have continued during the present adminis- 
tration. The director of research was appointed and the work 
under his guidance has gone on with fine results. There have been 
forty-three annual fellowships granted in Columbia, Yale, Har- 
vard, Johns Hopkins, Chicago, Northwestern, and other Ameri- 
can universities. Some fellows have been accredited to institutions 
abroad, but the war made it impossible for them to use their privi- 
lege. Students have come from institutions within the church and 
from many on the outside. The lectureships are awaiting an 
opportune moment for their establishment. 

It frequently happens that the bookish man is barren of hard 
sense and does not take kindly to financial affairs. It was quite 
otherwise with Hamilton. The vision of a great Protestant center 
of intellectual and moral influence at the heart of the nation capti- 

Bishop Franklin Hamilton 

vated him. Many men could have that experience without the 
ability to actualize it. To the surprise of most persons who were 
acquainted with the situation Franklin Hamilton immediately 
developed great strength in the handling of business. During his 
administration the productive endowment of the American Uni- 
versity was greatly increased. With consummate skill he reor- 
ganized its funds and placed the institution on a sound financial 
basis. After his death the President of the Board of Trustees of 
the American University wrote : "He had great executive ability, 
tireless energy, and was a natural leader of men." The treasurer of 
the Board wrote: "He was a man of great gifts, eminently success- 
ful in the administration of business affairs and greatly beloved 
by all who were associated with him." 

It is believed by those who knew him best that Hamilton's 
deepest longings would have been satisfied had he been able to 
proceed with the chancellorship of the university until it had 
realized and justified the hopes of its promoters. But the church 
had further business for him, and in 1916 he was elected to the 
episcopacy and assigned to the Pittsburgh area. By a strange 
providence he came into the territory which his father had traveled 
as a preacher many years before. He did so at the request of an 
influential body of ministers and laymen. It is confessed by the 
leaders of that section that Franklin Hamilton surpassed their 
expectations. He uniformly made a fine impression on the Con- 
ferences over which he presided. He showed a large grasp of the 
problems of his office, and he dealt like a statesman with the situa- 
tions he met. In the fall of 1916, after he had held the three 
Conferences of the area to which he had been designated, the editor 
of the Pittsburgh Christian Advocate wrote: 

Bishop Franklin Hamilton is here with a defined area of three strong 
Conferences in the heart of the nation and of Methodism. He came to 
his kingdom, however, not as resident Bishop, but as president of the 
three Conferences which he has just held in as many consecutive weeks. 
It is simply to state the truth to say that he has won the hearts of the 
leaders of the people called Methodists in this region, the preachers and 
laymen who attended the Conference sessions this year. He has shown 
himself gracious, strong, discriminating, commanding and efficient. He 
was among the brethren as a brother. In his addresses he was very 
much more than pleasing, though he was that in an eminent degree; he 

Bishop Franklin Hamilton 

touched the depths of the best Methodist and human feeling; he stressed 
the vital truths of the Christian religion and interpreted them in the 
thought of the age. He faced very difficult situations in two of his Con- 
ferences, but in a brotherly way showed himself master. 

This judgment was approved by the Methodism of the entire terri- 
tory and was sustained and strengthened by the new bishop's work 
in the two years of service permitted to him. 

To be a bishop is not so desirable a thing that any man 
should want it for his own satisfaction. The temporary honors 
that it brings are embittered by the care and anxiety which attend 
it. The fame of it is terribly short. Very few persons, and they 
chiefly of the ministry, could at this moment recite the names 
of our living bishops in full; and in the next generation the 
record of a majority of these conspicuous leaders will be reduced 
to a single line in the Year Book. If a man has been a successful 
educator, a trenchant writer, or a missionary who has lived and 
died for a heathen tribe, he will have secured a greater earthly 
immortality than any bishop can obtain apart from some monu- 
mental service of this character. On all accounts it is safe to 
assume that if a sensible man really wants to be a bishop he 
is impelled by a desire for a place in which, under most exact- 
ing circumstances, he may use an opportunity of wide possibilities 
for the good of humanity and the glory of God. The significant 
thing is that men of Hamilton's type seek position in the Church 
and not in the state. He would have made himself a man of mark 
in any field. The Church elevated him, not because she lacked 
men, but because she regarded him as a man she could not afford 
to leave outside the bishopric. 

It was during his chancellorship that the Church came to 
know Franklin Hamilton as an orator. His sermons and addresses 
while in the pastorate had charmed the congregations which heard 
them. The official necessity of appearing everywhere in the United 
States in behalf of the university gave him a wide and diversified 
auditory. His growing fame called him to the lecture platform 
and to the pulpits of the strongest churches. In all these oppor- 
tunities he showed himself a speaker of distinction. It was in his 
brief tenure as a bishop, however, that he attained the climax of 

Bishop Franklin Hamilton 

his reputation for eloquence. His experience in forensic discus- 
sion had been limited. He was still a learner in the school of 
general church business when he died. His type of mind does 
not naturally run to debate. His scholastic training was not calcu- 
lated to incite ecclesiastical controversy. But his broad knowledge 
of affairs made his counsel invaluable. Familiarity with foreign 
missions and a growing acquaintance with the problems of the 
episcopacy in America were urging him to combat, and as often as 
he essayed to measure weapons with a contestant he handled him- 
self adroitly and well. 

It was on the platform and in the pulpit that his characteristic 
talents had their freest and fullest exercise. Here he was masterly 
and imposing. His rich stores of information gave him abundant 
material. He had been reared in the best traditions. He spoke 
with fluency and accuracy. His speech was enlivened by historical 
allusions and by illustrations from travel and common life. He 
knew the human heart and how to touch it. The rhetorical finish 
of his periods and a certain stateliness of language always at his 
command would have diminished his popularity had he not pos- 
sessed so gracious a manner and so evident a purpose to get into 
intimate understanding with his audience. He knew the worth 
of pathos and humor, of vivid narrative and large free-hand pic- 
tures, and he used them effectively. 

He was not vociferous but he was forceful. His reserve was 
an element of power. It left a true impression that he was greater 
than the things he said. After he became bishop, with the immense 
pressure of the new task upon him and the enlarging vision of 
things yet to be, he frequently overflowed the banks of reserve and 
was borne along on a wide and deep current of emotion. Great 
stories are told in the Pittsburgh area of his eloquence. He seemed 
to experience a new birth. His audiences were sympathetic, they 
drew upon his resources, they fairly transfigured him. It is a 
pity he could not have gone on. Perhaps then we should have had 
an orator of a new type and of surpassing quality. Unless, indeed, 
the drying and deadening process of official life had paralyzed his 
fancy. It is commonly remarked that after a few years in the 
bishopric most men begin to decline in preaching power. Insufli- 

Bishop Franklin Hamilton 

cient time is allowed for pulpit preparation. The puzzling 
problems of administration clog the mind. What is more deter- 
minative than anything else, the lack of personal touch with the 
common people impairs the element of vitality. Hamilton's deep 
interest in mankind and his joy in mingling with all classes would 
doubtless have preserved him from this deterioration. The severely 
logical quality of mind was denied Hamilton. Of course, he had 
reason with him but he was not essentially argumentative. He 
fulfilled in a striking way the dictum of John Burroughs respect- 
ing oratory: "The great secret of eloquence is to set mass in 
motion, to marshal together facts and considerations, imbue them 
with passion, and hurl them like an army on the charge upon the 
mind of the reader or hearer." 

It is not difficult to conjecture the development of Frank- 
lin Hamilton in the bishopric had he been spared to the Church 
another score of years. His mental and moral characteristics 
give the indication. He had an alert and inquisitive mind. 
He was eager to obtain knowledge from any source. Thus 
he gathered an immense fund of information on a great 
variety of subjects. He possessed an unusual memory. His ac- 
quisitions were always ready for use. This made him an attractive 
conversationalist and an effective public speaker. Apparently no 
topic of current interest or general literature could be presented 
on which he was unable to discourse intelligently and profitably, 
while in the distinctive fields of his own investigation he spoke 
with the tone of authority. But nothing was left to the chances of 
a public occasion. He was most painstaking in his preparation 
for speech. His subjects obtruded themselves upon his mind at 
night and were clarified by thought in the darkness. Frequently 
he would outline an address or sermon on his pillow or he would 
frame the form of something he desired to write. He did not find 
it necessary, like some, to rise and set down his thoughts and ex- 
pressions. He would readily recall them in the morning. Many 
speakers have found that addresses thus conceived are not as fine 
under the glare of daylight as they appeared to be under the haze 
of midnight. It was not so with him. He had remarkable powers 
of concentration. The noisy playing of children in his workroom 

Bishop Franklin Hamilton 

did not disturb him. The mental equilibrium of the man and his 
wide acquaintance with people and countries made him adaptable 
to any society. He was welcome wherever he went, and no more 
agreeable guest ever entered the home of a stranger. Archaeology 
was one of his fondest pursuits. Antiquities had for him an irre- 
sistible charm. He was a born collector, and carefully cherished 
his accumulating treasures. When he made his episcopal visit to 
Porto Kico he spent his leisure in searching for things rare and 
ancient till he found a couple of old Spanish pistols, which he 
later gave to his sons ; also two old swords for the same recipients 
and pieces of very old mahogany furniture for his wife. He owned 
one of the best private collections of Wesleyana in America, and 
compiled the bibliography used by Methodists in celebrating the 
two hundredth anniversary of the birth of John Wesley. 

In temperament he was fortunate, being invariably cheerful. 
His poise was not disturbed by those alternations of despondency 
which often harass men of sanguine disposition. Great serious- 
ness, however, marked his demeanor in the presence of difficult 
problems. He had much personal charm. His inherent winsome- 
ness was heightened by culture and refined by religion. "Given 
a fair chance, he could make any man his friend, 7 ' said one who 
knew him in the most sacred intimacy. Suffusing all his qualities 
was an indefinable spirit which captivated as if by magic those 
who met him. This is not to be confounded with that ready affa- 
bility which is a fortune to the apt politician. It is a more delicate 
thing and eludes definition. Hamilton could not be undignified 
even when playful. One of his classmates in Harvard says it 
would be impossible to think of him as slapping a comrade on the 
back, or being the object of such a boisterous token of good fellow- 
ship. It was difficult for him in his student days to unbend. This 
was not a pose but a constitutional trait. Hamilton felt this limita- 
tion, and in after years overcame it in large measure. The one 
charge against him in college was his seriousness. This prevented 
him from being popular in the ordinary sense. He seldom mingled 
in the lighter affairs of his class, yet he commanded universal re- 
spect ]STo better proof of this can be given than his election by 
the class to the position of class orator on Commencement day. 

Bishop Franklin Hamilton 

"No one thought of contending against him, not because he was 
popular but because he was proficient. 

One explanation of this early seriousness was his necessity 
to work to keep himself going. Another is the native modesty 
of the man. The aspiring soul can be diffident. The scholarly 
man is usually cautious about pushing himself. "If you ever hear 
me talk of myself stop me/' he often said to his wife. It was 
characteristic of him to retire from view even when the occasion 
demanded his presence at the front. At Pittsburgh his ministers 
found it necessary forcibly to drag him out to receive the publicity 
to which he was entitled as a bishop. Yet this man, so hesitant ta 
assert himself, when time and the occasion required it was fearless 
in the performance of duty. He was masterful in dealing with 
the problems coming to him as university chancellor and later as 
bishop. It is said in Pittsburgh that the courteous gentleman 
was also the firm administrator. 

Deep conscientiousness lay at the heart of all his work. Duty 
was the great word in his lexicon. His epitaph reads : "He was 
a good man and a just." Tireless in his efforts for others, friendship 
was almost a religion with him. Such a man will have strong per- 
sonal influence. It was not what he did but what he was that held 
men to him. In the General Conference he was unobtrusive, 
almost silent, save in committees. No man listened to debate 
with more serious attention. His very gravity was influential. 
His election to the bishopric was a testimonial to the impression 
of solidity he made. It was believed that he would exercise the 
office with dignity and force. 

An ecclesiastical leader requires diplomacy. This he pos- 
sessed in a marked degree. ~No one could more gently approach 
the irritated or more effectually assuage the fretful. The only 
fault named by one who was very close to him was his desire to 
please everyone. It is held that such a policy ends in pleasing 
no one. If it is not chastened by judgment, regulated by con- 
science, and held in leash by duty, it will indeed squander itself 
in vanity. But if it is an honest desire to be helpful in every 
case, while sacrificing no responsibility, it will stabilize character 
and save the man who has it from prejudice and partiality. This 

Bishop Franklin Hamilton 

is what resulted in the case of Franklin Hamilton, than whom no 
fairer-minded man ever lived. 

Probably none but his closest friends dreamed what fervency- 
he would put into his work as a bishop. His life had been calm, 
in part cloistered. He was unacquainted with the noise of contro- 
versy. But no sooner was he at the business of episcopal super- 
vision than he burst into flames. His nearest comrades believe 
that he worked himself to death. While chancellor of the univer- 
sity he wrote hundreds of letters with his own hand that he might 
economize in the expense of clerical help. He gave himself to 
details which should have been handled by some subordinate. He 
watched his trust with consuming attention. When he came to 
Pittsburgh he seemed to be hunting opportunities for work far 
beyond his or any other man's strength. He had no ability at 
refusing invitations for public service. On the Sunday before 
his death he preached three times in Wheeling, West Virginia, and 
on Monday lectured for the benefit of a church in Pittsburgh. 
Meanwhile, he had been assiduous in preparations for the enter- 
tainment of the Board of Bishops, whose semi-annual meeting 
opened in his city on Wednesday. The Sunday following he fell 
on sleep. A former classmate in Harvard said of him : "He was 
too serious. He had a real New England conscience. He did not 
know how to play any more than some of his Puritan ancestors." 

His home was the world in which his character was most 
graciously exhibited, and those who dwelt there experienced 
the joy of his presence and the nobility of his influence as 
no others could. He was married to Miss Mary Mackie Pierce, 
daughter of the late Hon. Edward L. Pierce, the biographer of 
Charles Sumner. They had two sons, Edward Pierce and Arthur 
Dean, and one daughter, Elizabeth Louise. The elder son was a 
lieutenant of artillery, and served by appointment in a colored 
regiment in the American forces overseas during the late war. 
The younger son was in training and soon to embark for France 
when the armistice was signed. It is a touching circumstance that, 
while Franklin Hamilton tossed in the troubled billows of his 
latest hours, his mind anxiously clung to the hope that he would 
receive tidings from the boy who had gone to fight for freedom, 

Bishop Franklin Hamilton 

telling of his safe arrival in Europe. The message came, but not 
till the father's eyes were closed, and then it was placed in his 
white hands and went with him to his last resting place. 

Franklin Hamilton's interest in life was profound. He 
loved its atmosphere and its burdens. His plans were many and 
they were full of color. He was prepared for a mighty conquest. 
He served in the midst of a world war that gave him great solici- 
tude. He saw the bright prospect awaiting Christianity when 
the conflict should be terminated. He was not given the oppor- 
tunity to participate in the new development of civilization. 
One can be sure that he would have bestowed upon the church 
a bishopric that would have adorned her history had he been per- 
mitted to remain on earth. Comparisons are impossible. It is a 
new day, and he was a new kind of bishop, essentially adapted to 
the age in which he appeared. By so much the more is the loss 
sustained by the church irreparable. Yet none can doubt he 
marches forward in some high mission among the sons of light. 

Deacidified using the Bookkeeper process. 

Neutralizing agent: Magnesium Oxide 
Treatment Date: May 2006 



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